Thailand: Saint-Gobain Sekurit strike continues

Three hundreds workers at auto glass maker Saint-Gobain Sekurit (SGS) remained on strike in Rayong for higher pay and benefits, the Bangkok Post reported.
An SGS executive who declined to be named cl…

Three hundreds workers at auto glass maker Saint-Gobain Sekurit (SGS) remained on strike in Rayong for higher pay and benefits, the Bangkok Post reported. An SGS executive who declined to be named claimed local politicians were behind the union“s intransigence. “When the external influential people were away in Chiang Mai recently, the union seemed to be more compromising, but since they came back, whatever agreeable solutions we made have been refused.” The strike began on 6 January 2006 after 300 union members refused to accept a bonus proposal made the previous day. It had appeared that the union was prepared to settle for a proposed three-month bonus for 2005 and a 7% salary increase in 2006. However, it subsequently revived its demand for a five-month bonus and a 7% salary increase, plus additional benefits for workers“ children and promotions for staff who had previously been passed over. “We think the requests from the union were too much,” said the executive. As of 18 January 2006, the strike had not affected production as 300 production-line workers did not join the walkout. In addition, the executive said, SGS transferred some workers from logistics and maintenance and filled other positions with subcontractors. However, SGS is now unable to build up stocks due to the fall in production capacity. “What we are concerned about now is how to create harmony between members of the union and other workers.” Yongyuth Mentapao, an adviser to the union, maintains that the response of SGS management has been disappointing, citing another company proposal to raise the retirement age from 55 to 60.